The Climbing Club
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rope guard
http://students.washington.edu/climb/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5701
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Author:  Petek Saracoglu [ Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  rope guard

Anyone have input on how necessary/good it is to have a rope guard when top roping/rappelling? I just got my first rope, and as with most people with their first rope, I'm way overprotective. :D

Not sure I'd even spring for the official guards sold at REI, but I've heard you can hack together a rope guard...I bought a few feet of tubular webbing for that purpose but don't really see how just slipping some onto the rope would work, so if anyone has any input that as well..

Author:  Lee Willcockson [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: rope guard

I've never used one or seen someone using one; the sheath of modern climbing ropes exists solely to protect the core.

Enjoy the new rope!

Author:  Michelle H [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: rope guard

How you treat your rope in other ways is what's important. My tips:

1. Buy a rope bag that can be used as a tarp to keep your rope out of the dirt.
2. Lower people gently if the rope is running over the rock, especially sharp edges.
3. Even better, pay attention to where the rope is running, and move it out of the way of sharp edges or cracks it could get stuck in.
4. Set up your top anchors so that the rope doesn't run over sharp edges- this sometimes means carrying a cordelette or long slings.
5. Don't drop rocks or anything else on your rope.

Author:  Petek Saracoglu [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: rope guard

cool, thanks for the tips guys.

Author:  David Yount [ Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: rope guard

For Top Rope anchors or Sport Rappelling anchors sometimes Rope Guards are employed on the webbing or rope used to form the anchor. Rope Guards are rarely rarely used on the rope directly used for Top Roping or Sport Rappelling.

Often a Top Rope or Sport Rappelling anchor will use a tree or several trees at the top of the cliff. Webbing or rope is tied to the tree(s) and then comes forward, hanging over the cliff's edge. Where the webbing or rope hangs over the cliff's edge is where a Rope Guard may be used. In place of a commercial Rope Guard I have used a wool sweater.

If you buy 1-inch width bulk webbing and cut off both ends, getting rid of the melted / sealed ends, then you can slide the webbing over the anchor rope or webbing. Usually the protective webbing is about 2-feet long. Then position the piece of webbing so that it's in contact with the rock at the cliff's edge. You can also use a bicycle tube in the same fashion. It's far far far easier instead to use an old wool sweater or several old t-shirts to pad that rock edge.

There are also commercial products called Edge Guards. They are usually the same thin plastic sheet that make Rope Guards. And industrial / rescue quality Edge Guards may employ rollers.

I stick with my extra wool sweater.


Yes Lee, it is true that Kernmantle rope construction is to provide a protective covering for the load-bearing inner fibers, but the "mantle" or outer fibers on a climbing rope should be protected never the less. And actually, the mantle provides about 25% of the total strength of the rope. However, limited testing in the recent 10 years found that many common sense behaviors regarding care of climbing ropes was unwarranted.

From memory, the few things that negatively impact climbing rope:

-lead-acid cell battery fumes and fluid (extra car battery stored in trunk, rope in trunk) decreased the strength

-sufficient water soaked into rope decreased load absorption, thereby increasing load on top piece of protection (whether a bolt or a piece of traditional pro)


Some of the long held common sense beliefs that did _not_ negatively impact climbing rope:

-dirt, sand, debris coating and embedded in rope (no need for keeping rope off of ground)
-stepping on rope repeatedly with heavy boots
-gasoline
-sunscreen
-mosquito repellent
-engine oil
-white gas
-kerosene

Most interesting, to me, was when they had a tester wearing crampons step on a new rope where one of the crampon points went completely thru the rope. That section of rope showed no decrease in force absorption nor in maximal strength.

Also, "Dry Treated" ropes almost always did better than non-treated ropes. Which is why all manufacturers submit a "Dry Treated" sample for testing. It is theorized that the "Dry Treatment" decreases friction between fibers in the core of the rope, allowing the Z-twists and the S-twists to absorb more energy during a lead fall. Similarily, it is theorized that a fully soaked rope absorbs less energy because of an increase in friction between fibers in the core of the rope, limiting the amount of stretch and thus energy absorbed.

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